These are insane times, aren’t they? Marketers spend most of their lives looking for ways to connect people together. We’re either trying to connect people to brands or offering them important personal services. Either way, one thing we cannot deny is that marketing just cannot exist without people. And now we are all being systematically forced into isolation.
There’s never been a great time to have a global pandemic chewing through our social interactions. But we are now being unceremoniously swept from our offices and setting up at home to try and contain the spread. Marketers that are used to collaboration with their co-workers or meeting regularly with clients are now having to change the way they work.
For some, this sounds like a dream come true.
I mean, you can’t turn up to the office in your ripped boxer shorts, can you? A nice half an hour lie-in. There’s a fully functioning kitchen with all your favourite coffees, teas and snacks. Oh, and whilst you are procrastinating, you can just pick up that guitar.
However, these novelties may soon wear off. It isn’t just a coronavirus that we need to survive. We must survive the isolation itself.
Marketing with cabin fever
For people who are used to working from home it might seem like surviving the coronapocalypse is going to be a piece of cake. They are used to getting up at the crack of whenever to sit in their customised offices with the comfortable desk chairs. But even then, part of their business has to take part outside of the home.
Even they rarely work in complete isolation.
They have client meetings and network lunches to get them out of the house. When the day is done, they can walk out and go to a local pub or café. Some of them even pick up their laptop and visit a coffee shop for a change of scenery.
Humans rarely choose to spend their time completely shut out from the rest of the world. We thrive on a variety of experiences and environments. We are a social animal that works best when connected to a pack or a herd. Prolonged isolation can cause cabin fever.
If you are forced to isolate, or work from home for a long period of time, then there are certain things you need to look out for.
What to watch out for
With restaurants, pubs and cinemas being closed temporarily a lot of people are unable to get out of the house at all. Obviously, we are not talking about activities during work hours, but what you do out of hours is just as important for your wellbeing as hitting those deadlines.
Cabin fever could be a very real problem after prolonged isolation. So, the first thing to do is monitor your own health and wellbeing. Keep an eye out for these symptoms:
- Unexplained sadness or depression
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty waking
- Frequent napping
- Fluctuating or changing weight
- Decreasing motivation
If you begin to exhibit any of these symptoms it would be a good idea to find a channel to discuss this with a medical professional.
However, if you aren’t exhibiting any symptoms, it’s still a good idea to try and put some preventative measures in place whilst everyone is enduring the isolation.
Separate your home-space from your workspace
Your world has already been shrunk to a millionth of its original size. The high streets are off-limits, your usual haunts are just oversized petri-dishes brewing up coronavirus cocktails. Your little corner of the world is all you have left to work and play in. But you still need some form of separation.
If you can avoid it, then don’t hunker down into one singular room. Create yourself a makeshift office that is for work, and only for work.
By mixing business with Netflix and Xbox you are likely to provide yourself with more distraction than you need in a working day. Your deadlines won’t go away. They still need to be hit on time with the best quality work you can muster.
Not separating your home from your work might mean you are too distracted to hit the quality; it might also mean that you have to work into the evening to make sure you get those deadlines done.
This helps nobody. You need your own time and space. If your house permits it, create a separate space to work in whilst you are in isolation.
Stay connected with others in isolation
It is going to be quite some time before the world stops spinning on this crazy axis. Every day the government releases more social distancing measures. It won’t be long before almost everyone is forced home to work wherever they can. That means there are going to be more people, like you, that could be stuck simmering in isolation.
We still need to be connected to each other throughout this time.
I am not just referring to clients and colleagues and all those other people that keep your fingers flying over the keyboards. You may be separated from your friends for a long period of time. You know, those people you choose to surround yourself with to make sure that you don’t go completely bonkers.
These people that are good for your mental health.
Marketers are often very social people, and a close friendship circle is important for making sure that everyone is safe. It is important that you maintain these relationships.
You can connect via Skype or Google Hangouts, or even use Messenger or WhatsApp. Either way, make sure that you use technology to keep connected to your circle whilst you are isolated at home.
Hold virtual meetings with clients
Keeping your professional relationships are important too. As well as staying connected, you can keep all of your business arrangements intact by arranging regular webcam meetings.
As much as isolation is supposed to keep everyone apart, business still needs to be conducted where possible. Check in with your customers regularly. Just as with your friends, they may be suffering from cabin fever.
It will help your mental health (and theirs) to have regular contact checking on each other’s wellbeing. Sometimes a conversation is all they will need.
You can share experiences with each other and strengthen your professional relationships.
Keep to working hours
This can be a very prevalent problem. On an ordinary day, you are forced to leave the building and take some time away from the office. But there are no ordinary days left in our near future. You could get engrossed with the projects you are working on, and then find yourself eating into what should be your own time.
You might make yourself promises like: “I will take that time off at the end of the week,” or “it’s just this once”. Soon, however, this may become a regular occurrence.
For lack of other distractions and things to do, you could start letting your work/life balance become uneven. By letting your work claustrophobically crowd in on your time, you are further at risk of cabin fever or burning out.
Set alarms, make sure your customers are aware of your business times; and make sure you stick to them.
And that goes for taking breaks too
We have all worked through our lunches every so often. There just needed to be some adjustments made to that image. You wanted to quickly fix that wording on your email marketing campaign. Occasionally, it has been necessary.
But don’t let that become a culture just because you are in isolation.
Breaks are important. It gets you away from your screen. It gives you time to reset and breathe during the working day. Breaks are important for your mental and physical health. Working over your break time is unlikely to make you any more productive than if you are refreshed and thinking clearly.
Exercise and diet in isolation
You could be like me, who enjoys a good bacon sandwich in the morning from the office van. Or you could be like my co-worker who grazes through multipacks of crisps all day. This may be what you do through ordinary, non-Dystopian-lockdown days. And you might think that working from home is going to make your diet better.
Unfortunately, this is unlikely to improve after a long time of isolation. At least with set breaks, you can get away from your screen and maintain some form of eating routine. By taking yourself out of the office you are potentially derailing your eating regime.
To stay healthy, it is wise to make sure you are eating well and taking the opportunity to run up those stairs or have a walk around the garden.
Any exercise you may lose by going to an office needs to be replaced. Moreover, you are likely to be losing any exercise you would be doing in your breaks or socialising after work.
Stay healthy and replace these during your time in isolation.
Share your isolation stories over social media
If you haven’t started vlogging yet, this is a perfect time to start. You might want to share funny stories that you have found on the internet. You might want to talk about the problems you’re experiencing whilst working from home.
This will give your followers on social media some interesting content to digest and keep you at the forefront of their minds.
Moreover, this memorable content might be helpful to someone else also in isolation.
You often hear the words, as marketers, that this is not about you. It is about your customer. It is about your prospect. But without you, the content isn’t created, and nobody is meeting your customers needs. But you need to be well to do this.
But not only is your mental and physical health important, so is that of everyone else. Your customers will appreciate you asking how they are. They will appreciate impromptu emails and LinkedIn messages.
Isolation isn’t good for anyone over long periods of times, so remember to spend some of your time contacting everyone to make sure they are all OK. Remember, that when this is all done people will remember who helped them through it.
Stay safe. Stay well.